Lost in the unemployment numbers, home foreclosures and corporate bailouts of the recession, recent college graduates and students have struggled to find employment alongside their older, more experienced counter-parts. Summer jobs and entry-level positions long considered reserved for the younger, emerging workforce were being snapped up by older, more experienced workers. For this group of eager, new job seekers, employment prospects were particularly grim.
One sure sign the economy is turning around is the uptick in summer and entry-level open positions. Flush with opportunity, the federal government is encouraging recent grads and high school students to apply for the many positions available countrywide.
“There are opportunities virtually in every area you can imagine,” said Angela Bailey, deputy associate director for recruitment and hiring at the Office of Personnel Management.
These temporary summer openings are a great way to get a foot in the door with the federal government. Many are often extended, and turn into long-term opportunities. Typical wages range from $9 to $15 per hour.
Federal job searches begin at USAJobs.gov/studentjobs/ for a listing of open positions. Bailey recommends contacting agencies directly by March or April. Students should apply for positions that relate to their field of study. Bailey also said school counselors and personal contacts within the agencies can also give students a leg up. It’s not just about what you know, but who you know.
For those looking beyond the dog days of summer, the government offers apprenticeships, fellowships and grants to further education and experience. It all starts with a summer job working for Uncle Sam.
“We get to try them out and they get to try us out,” Bailey said. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”